Research Article

Cellulolytic activity and structure of symbiotic bacteria in locust guts

Published: September 29, 2014
Genet. Mol. Res. 13 (3) : 7926-7936 DOI: 10.4238/2014.September.29.6

Abstract

Locusts are able to digest the cellulose of Gramineae plants, resulting in their being considered as major crop pests. To illustrate the mechanism involved in cellulose digestion, the cellulolytic activity and zymography in the gut contents of 16 locust species were determined using carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) as substrate. The diversity of gut symbiotic bacteria was studied using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The results showed that high CMC activity was present in Acrididae gut fluid (mean 356.4 U/g proteins). Of the 5 locust species, Oxya chinensis had the highest diversity of intestinal symbiotic bacteria, characterized by the DGGE profile containing more than 20 bands of 16S rRNA. Klebsiella pneumoniae, in the gut of Locusta migratoria manilensis, was identified as the most abundant symbiotic bacterium by DNA sequencing, with a relative abundance of 19.74%. In comparison, Methylobacterium sp was the most dominant species in the Atractomorpha sinensis gut, with a relative abundance of 29.04%. The results indicated that the cellulolytic enzymes and gut microbial communities probably reflected their phylogenetic relationship with different locust species and associated feeding strategies.

Locusts are able to digest the cellulose of Gramineae plants, resulting in their being considered as major crop pests. To illustrate the mechanism involved in cellulose digestion, the cellulolytic activity and zymography in the gut contents of 16 locust species were determined using carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) as substrate. The diversity of gut symbiotic bacteria was studied using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The results showed that high CMC activity was present in Acrididae gut fluid (mean 356.4 U/g proteins). Of the 5 locust species, Oxya chinensis had the highest diversity of intestinal symbiotic bacteria, characterized by the DGGE profile containing more than 20 bands of 16S rRNA. Klebsiella pneumoniae, in the gut of Locusta migratoria manilensis, was identified as the most abundant symbiotic bacterium by DNA sequencing, with a relative abundance of 19.74%. In comparison, Methylobacterium sp was the most dominant species in the Atractomorpha sinensis gut, with a relative abundance of 29.04%. The results indicated that the cellulolytic enzymes and gut microbial communities probably reflected their phylogenetic relationship with different locust species and associated feeding strategies.